Lots of people love travelling but, how and when do we find out we are real travellers? This is the latest challenge that momondo had for its Open World Ambassadors. I can’t remember a specific moment when I realised I was a traveller, but I think I have always been!
Maybe it was when I was still in primary school, and during the year, I would wait anxiously for that week in the summer when we would go to visit my uncle in central Italy, for our yearly road trip, exploring the breathtaking Umbria countryside, the beautiful cities in Tuscany or some lakes in Lazio. And I remember how sad I was when we were leaving. But I also remember looking outside, with my nose stuck on the window to watch the landscape change, with my parents laughing at me because I would never sleep and I kept asking loads of questions about things.
Maybe it was during my first trip abroad, in Greece, at the age of 11, when I wrote my first travel diary and collected all the pictures in a photo album to create a presentation I kept showing people, even though some of them didn’t care. And how excited I was about travelling by boat for the first time!
Maybe it was the first time I went abroad without my family, when I was 18. I went to France with my school friends, and while most of them just wanted to party, I couldn’t wait to get up early and go sightseeing. My favourite memory about this trip was getting lost – literally – in Montmartre, and I was so excited about exploring that part of Paris on my own and try to talk to people in French to find my way back and find out more about their lives!
Maybe it was the first time I took a flight, to go to Barcelona – I was so excited about flying and couldn’t want to see how it was.
Maybe it was when I choose my college degree – translation and cultural mediation – because I thought that choosing a linguist major would be the best path to follow to find a job that allowed me to travel the world.
Maybe it was the first time I left home to move to the Basque Country, in Spain, to live on my own for the first time, and I knew straight away I wouldn’t go home for while! I was so happy to be able to say I was living in a foreign country and I kept sending pictures and stories to my family and friends about this place in Spain that nobody I knew had visited before. And when people who had lived abroad told me that sooner or later living away from home would become hard, I never believed them!
After that I moved to Ireland, then back to Italy, then back to Ireland again, then Austria then another place in Ireland. All while I kept travelling through Europe, where I visited several places in Spain, Germany, France, Italy, Austria, Poland, Belgium, Check republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Hungary, Albania, the UK and more. Every time, at the end of the trip, I was already planning where to go next.
But all of this didn’t feel like was enough for me and I always felt like the office life and the idea of having a permanent contract and spend the rest of my life in the same place, waiting for those two weeks of holiday every year made me too sad.
It took me two years and a few not so happy months, until I found the courage to admit to myself I’m not made to be in the same place for too long or at least, to have a job that doesn’t give me the flexibility to travel as much as I want. What happened next? I quit my job and went backpacking for a whole year thought South, Central and North America.
Maybe this was the moment I realised I am a traveller? It doesn’t matter! The year I spent travelling has been the happiest of my life so far and every time I saw another new gorgeous spot of our beautiful world, every time I met amazing people ready to help you even when they had nothing, every time I slept in a car or couldn’t shower for a couple of days in a row but I was still happy, every time I tried a new dish, danced or sang to local music, explored a market, packed my bag one more time, every time I took a 20+ hour bus or a train, every time I highlighted a new place to visit on my travel guide or I scratched off a new place on my scratch map, and many other times, I knew that was what I am supposed to do in my life!
So, even though there isn’t a specific moment I realised I am a traveller, I know I am every time:
- A trip is almost over and I’m already planning a new one
- I see a beautiful landscape and it makes me cry from happiness
- All the money I save go into travelling
- I am the only one in a group who is actually interested in listening to your holiday stories
- Before buying anything I think I could use that money for a trip and end up not buying it
- People ask me when I’m getting married, and I answer that a wedding would cost the equivalent of two one year trips, like the one I just did through America!
You don’t necessarily need to be a traveller to know that exploring new places and travelling is good for the soul and the best way to grow and open your mind. So even if you are not as obsessed as I am, why not book a flight and find out if maybe the next place you visit lights up this spark in you?
Book it here!